Elon Musk Publicly Trolls Twitter Employee, Asks Him to Justify Work

Elon Musk Publicly Trolls Twitter Employee, Asks Him to Justify Work


  • Elon Musk publicly trolled a Twitter employee who wanted to know if they still had their job.
  • He told the employee to justify their work, posted laughing emojis and memes when they answered.
  • The employee later confirmed he was laid off, but doesn’t know if he’ll be paid severance per his contract.

On Tuesday, Elon Musk engaged in an online spat with a Twitter employee who wanted to find out if they’d been laid off.

Haraldur Thorleifsson, who uses the Twitter handle @iamharaldur, tweeted at Musk on Monday evening saying he lost his laptop access nine days prior, but did not know if he was still employed.

“However, your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am an employee or not. You’ve not answered my emails,” wrote Thorleifsson.

Thorleifsson, a creative designer and father of two, lists himself on LinkedIn as a director at Twitter based in Reykjavik, Iceland. He founded a creative agency, Ueno, which was acquired by Twitter in 2021 and lists offices in Iceland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

Four hours after Thorleifsson tweeted, Musk responded. “What work have you been doing?” the CEO wrote.

When Thorleifsson responded that he would need permission from Twitter’s lawyers to publicly disclose his work at the company, Musk tweeted: “It’s approved, you go ahead.”

Thorleifsson listed several of his work responsibilities and achievements, such as hiring designers, helping the company to appeal to younger users, and leading projects to “level up design across the company.”

“Level up from what design to what? Pics or it didn’t happen,” Musk wrote. “We haven’t hired design roles for four months. What changes did you make to help with the youths?”

Thorleifsson replied that he didn’t have access to any pictures or documents as evidence because he’d been locked out of his computer.

Musk also posted a clip from the 1999 comedy film “Office Space,” asking Thorleifsson: “Would you say that you’re a people person?” 

The meme clip features an exasperated employee trying to justify his role to two managers.


“Yes! I am a people person!” Thorleifsson responded to Musk’s jibe.

When Thorleifsson answered one of Musk’s questions by writing “Figma” and “all active design projects,” the billionaire responded with two laughing emojis.

Thorleifsson later tweeted that Twitter’s head of human resources had emailed him to confirm he no longer worked at the company. “Now the next question is if you will make sure I get paid what I’m owed per my contract?!” he tweeted.

Musk did not respond further, as of midnight EST.

After his exchange with Musk, Thorleifsson tweeted that he was “ok” with being laid off and said it was “fair enough.”

“Companies let people go, that’s within their rights. They usually tell people about it but that’s seemingly the optional part at Twitter now,” Thorleifsson wrote.

His next focus is on receiving his severance pay as stated in his contract, he added.

Thorleifsson also posted a photo of himself, revealing that he uses a wheelchair.

Thorleifsson runs a fund that builds wheelchair ramps in Iceland.

Several former Twitter employees who have disabilities filed a class action lawsuit against the social media company in November, saying Musk’s work demands after he took over the firm broke California state and federal discrimination laws.

Dmitry Borodaenko, an engineer laid off after Musk’s acquisition, said in the lawsuit that he is a cancer survivor and was let go after telling his manager he wanted to work from home. He’d made the request out of concern that he was at “extra risk” from COVID-19, the lawsuit said.

Thorleifsson, Twitter, and Musk did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.


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